The Sunshine State is not only a major talk of the media but among residents and the general public as well. Every Year thousands of US citizens use the Google search engine to find the best places to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Florida offers an abundance of beautiful and gorgeous beaches. It stretches along the Gulf of Mexico in the United States of America on the west, with the Atlantic on another side.
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Whether the priority is relaxation, retirement spots, partying, golf courses, post-career relaxation, or experiencing a new vibe, the Gulf Coast of Florida has amazing beaches to satisfy everyone. If coastal life is a dream then the Gulf of Florida is a perfect heavenly place for you.
The Gulf Coast of Florida consists of West Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. The endless 11,000 miles long waterway, miles of hiking trails, and lively nightlife make Florida one of the most demanding places in the world.
White silky sand with beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, turquoise waves, and warm weather makes the Gulf Coast of Florida perfect for all beach lovers. You can go swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding, surfing and a lot more.
I’ve segregated the best places on the Gulf Coast of Florida to live on the basis of affordability, safety, job market, education, beach life, and culture. Let’s study in-depth about these top reasons to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida:
Before coming or shifting to a place what is the prime factor you look into, affordability, right? How affordable is the place? It’s not only about house costs but also about education, food, health system and all. So, I’ve analyzed and studied each place in the Gulf Coast of Florida as per the cost of living compared with the salary earned per month by each person.
Right to life is another important factor while shifting to a new place. I know how important this is so as per capita statistics on crime rate I’ve divided the places and have given you the true information.
If you’re not a retired person or a student then I’m sure when you’re looking for the best places to live on the Florida Gulf Coast then you’re searching for places which has a great working environment.
In the Gulf Coast of Florida, there are great schools, colleges, and universities for your child and as per the census the literacy rate is also on the higher side.
Have you ever seen gorgeous natural beaches? Choose the best places on the Florida Gulf Coast to live and watch the beautiful beaches every day. Couples who are looking for a romantic getaway in Florida can go for a long walk with their loved ones along the soft sandy beaches of the gulf coast.
Perfect eve walk!
Here I’m listing the 10 best places to live on the gulf coast of Florida and all these places are great for all age groups.
Table of Contents
1. Bonita Springs
- Population: 53,644
- Cost of Living Index: 113.8
- Median Home Value: $679,000
- Crime Rate: 45% lower than the national average
- Unemployment Rate: 3.8%
Bonita Springs sits between two beautiful places called Naples and Fort Myers. The beach is popular among residents of Florida and is home to Barefoot Beach Preserve State Park.
This place has a great standard of living and offers many employment opportunities.
The city is clean with friendly people all around and has many shopping centers. The cost of living is quite similar to the national average.
Bonita Springs is the best place to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida; it offers the best suburban feeling and the best nightlife. You’ll find great public schools in this area.
Read Next: 11 Best Places to Live in Central Florida
The major tourist attractions are off-leash-dog Beach Park, and lovers key state park. You can also visit a botanical jungle with exotic animals and plants, go for the Dolphin and Manatee Adventure Tour of Fort Myers, clear kayak tours in Bonita Springs, Kayak eco guided tour, or spend the evening at the Bandstand listening to live music.
- Population: 385,145
- Cost of Living Index: 90.6
- Median Home Value: $300,100
- Crime Rate: 42.45
- Unemployment Rate: 4.5
Tallahassee is one of the best cities in Florida Panhandle to live in. The city offers great opportunities to its people and has earned its position as the top 81 best cities to live in on Livability.com.
Tallahassee people believe in “Live, Work, Play,” and they are so full of energy and life. It has such beautiful bars, restaurants, and shops from where you can buy your daily groceries.
It is one of the top places to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida if affordability is a factor. It has great job opportunities and Florida A&M University and Florida State University are both located in Tallahassee where hundreds of students come for admissions every year.
The major tourist attractions are state parks, lakes, and Leon County Geological Sinks. You can also visit Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park, Tallahassee Museum, adventurous scavenger hunt by operational city quest, walking tours, antique car museum, and a lot more. This place is an education hub, free from congestion and away from beaches.
3. Siesta Key
- Population: 5574
- Cost of Living Index: 150.2
- Median Home Value: $980,000
- Crime Rate: 67% lower than the national average
- Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
Siesta Key is the best city to live in on the Florida Gulf Coast for retirees. It is located at the side of the bridge from Sarasota, which is close to Tampa and St. Petersburg. The shimmering white sand beach is the best for long walks and spending time watching the sunset.
Read Also: 10 Incredible Natural Springs Near Tampa
This place is near two great hospitals and earned its name as the “best beach in the world” in 2017 by Dr. Beach. This place is safe for people as crime rates are relatively very low.
Near the beach, it has enthralling shops, mini-bars, and restaurants which are amazing and feels like sitting and spending time around the evening. The major employment market for Siesta Key people is in Sarasota-Bradenton and Tampa-St. Petersburg. There are also two international airports and are well connected with the rest of the world.
It is one of the safest places to travel solo in the US and you can enjoy great “me-time” partying, swinging, and eating great food without worrying about your safety.
The major tourist attractions are Turtle Beach, Crescent Beach, and Point of Rocks, Siesta farmer market, Shell Beach, and a lot more. This place might be a little expensive but if you can afford a house you can lead the exact Hollywood type “island lifestyle”.
4. Fort Myers
- Population: 82,229
- Cost of Living Index: 96.9
- Median Home Value: $400,000
- Crime Rate: 15% higher than the national average
- Unemployment Rate: 4.6
Fort Myers is a commercial city of Lee Country and the second-best place in Florida to retire on a budget. It is a budget-friendly romantic place for tourists. It has international airports, huge shopping centers, topmost golf courses, and charming weather.
Fort Myers is the best place to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida and is considered one of the best emerging cities in Florida. The vibrant beaches and colorful beach life is something no other place can offer other than Fort Myers.
This place offers a great coastal lifestyle and it is approximately 40 minutes away from Estero Island. You can enjoy city life because it has great public schools and even a great place to start your family. The main source of the economy comes from tourism.
The major tourist attractions are Sanibel Island, Estero Island, Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Six miles cypress slough preserve, Regional Park, Manatee Park, JetBlue park, and a lot more.
- Population: 967,069
- Cost of Living Index: 111
- Median Home Value: $750,000
- Crime Rate: 87% lower than the national average
- Unemployment Rate: 4%
Naples is one of the quaint Florida Gulf Coast towns which are known for golf courses and high-end shopping centers. This wealthy place is best for starting a family because it has great education centers, a low crime rate, and is great for safety concerns.
It has beautiful clean white sand and is a great tourist spot all over the world. It is the home of ten thousand islands.
The major tourist attractions are spotting dolphins, Naples Zoo, and watching the sunset at Naples Pier. You can also visit Castel Ovo, the oldest castle in Naples, Cappella Sansevero, Catacombs of San Gennaro, and a lot more. Naples is also a great Christmas vacation spot in Florida. Here the gala Christmas Parade is celebrated by dance troupes, school groups, and visitors.
This is one of the most affordable Gulf Coast towns in Florida and is considered the happiest and healthiest city in 2017.
- Population: 52,642
- Cost of Living Index: 87.2
- Median Home Value: $317,000
- Crime Rate: 6.12
- Unemployment Rate: 4.5 %
Pensacola is the best place to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida and the dream of many people. It is one of the most inexpensive places to live in Florida, the house price is comparatively low and away from the city buzz.
It is a small beach town that is famous for its clear emerald waters and quartz white sand beaches. Pensacola has an interesting history which states that it is considered the “City of Five Flags”.
The major tourist attractions are a lighthouse, Fort Barrancas, Naval Air station, Lagoon State Park, and a lot more.
Read Next: 10 Most Beautiful Lighthouses in Florida
- Population: 54,842
- Cost of Living Index: 102.7
- Median Home Value: $ 777,100
- Crime Rate: 5.49
- Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Sarasota is the dream vacation spot and a fantastic place to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida for digital nomads and families. The beautiful coastline with white-sand beaches and stunning views is something you can never forget.
You can consider Sarasota if you are looking to move to the Gulf Coast of Florida because the rates are very affordable here. It is famous among youth for producing award-winning craft beers. You can rent a property or buy a property of your own choice. The education centers offer great services.
It is famous for buzzing art scenes with orchestras, museums, operas, blues artists, and a lot more. You have plenty of dining options and great continental food restaurants.
The major tourist attractions are the celebrity’s homes of Jerry Springer, Brian Johnson of AC/DC; Stephen King. You can visit the Circus Museum, the new Centre for Asian Art, Sarasota Museum of Art, visit Marie Selby Botanical Garden, Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, and spend time in Luxuriate and a lot more places.
8. Cape Coral
- Population: 204,549
- Cost of Living Index: 103.9
- Median Home Value: $675,000
- Crime Rate: 50% lower than the national average
- Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
The beautiful and incredible place to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida is in Cape Coral. It is 400 miles of canals and a great place for fishing and boating. It is near Fort Myers and one of the largest cities between Tampa and Miami. It is the 8th largest city in Florida.
If you ask me which coast is better to live on in Florida? I’ll definitely advise you to come here. There is no single person who doesn’t love Cape Coral.
It is one of the safest places to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida for retirement communities as the crime rate is also very low.
Cape Coral is an affordable place to visit in Florida and one of the growing job sectors and places for the youth population. It also has great educational infrastructure like Lee County Public School District, Florida Gulf Coast University, Southwest Florida College, and Cape Coral Technical College which attracts hundreds of students every year.
The major tourist attractions are Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island, Fellowship Park, Rotary Park environmental center, historical museum, harbor gallery, and a lot more. There is a huge diversity of art and culture in Cape Coral.
Related Post: 23 Pros And Cons of Living in Cape Coral
- Population: 384959
- Cost of Living Index: 100.1
- Median Home Value: $400,000
- Crime Rate: 7% higher than the national average
- Unemployment Rate: 5%
Are you searching for the most expensive places to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida? Then Tampa isn’t just a great place to live in Florida but one of the most desirable places for dog owners too in the world.
Tampa was ranked as the 9th fastest growing city in the United State of America in 2021. It also respects and supports the LBGTQ+ community and protects their rights to a large extent.
As per projections from the Urban Land Institute and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Tampa city is marked as the sixth most attractive region in the United State of America. It is the business hub for the Tampa Bay Lightning National Hockey League Team, the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball Team, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers National Football League Team.
The warm temperature and low crime rate make this place one of the best places to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
The major tourist attractions are Glazer Children’s Museum, Anna Maria Island, Clearwater Beach, Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, and Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park, and a lot more. We have also a list of 10 amazing day trips from Tampa that you can enjoy during weekends.
- Population: 2514
- Cost of Living Index: 86.1
- Median Home Value: $350,000
- Crime Rate: 43% lower than the national average
- Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
Still, wondering what’s the best place to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida? Apalachicola welcomes you; it is located east of Panama City and south of Tallahassee. It is the 9th best Florida’s southern Gulf Coast place to live.
If you want to stay in a peaceful environment with friendly people at affordable rates then this place is just made for you. The peaceful surroundings and safe locality are the most desirable criteria to shift and settle in Apalachicola.
Its job market is expanding and existing industries provide a great working environment. But this place isn’t that prosperous compared to the other places but perfect for people who choose quality life over money and fashion.
A lot of tourists visit here and you can even spend time at gorgeous cafes with a portion of great food in front of you.
The major tourist attractions are Orman House Historic State Park, The Raney House Museum, Saint Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, Apalachicola Maritime Museum, and a lot more.
If you’re planning to move to Florida then you can consider the above options and don’t forget to read the ultimate moving to Florida guide. The above places are classified based on affordability and safety. In Florida, you will enjoy the warm climate, natural springs in Florida, beautiful lakes in Florida, and most importantly the coastal air. The price of the property changes with time, so I’ll highly recommend you to check before shifting.
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FAQ on The Best Places to Live on The Gulf Coast of Florida
1. Is it better to live on the gulf side of the Atlantic side of Florida?
A: The gulf side of Florida offers a white shimmering sandy beach, pollution-free air, clear water, away from busy life. Whereas, the Atlantic side of Florida offers you the best beaches for water sports activities.
2. Which coast is better to live on in Florida?
A: The gulf coast of Florida has few amazing places to live in. You can check out Tampa, Cape Coral, Sarasota, and Tallahassee.
3. What’s the worst place to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida?
A: The Sunshine state has both good and bad places to offer. Palatka, West Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, and Dade city are some of the worst places to live in. If you don’t want to get bankrupted then don’t come to these places.
4. Where is the cheapest place to live on the Gulf of Coast?
A: You can definitely choose Cape Coral as this place is the most affordable and safe place to live in. The appealing environment and people around are so likely to start a family and spend time with.
5. What is the most affordable beach town in Florida?
A: The most affordable beach towns in Florida are as follows:
Palm Bay. Median Home Price: $136,600
Melbourne. Median Home Price: $155,300
Daytona Beach. Median Home Price: $141,000